Stepping Stone Books are a great choice for emergent readers who have moved beyond simple text and can handle a longer book. At just under 100 pages, Stoway is a great choice for readers who like dog books like Ilene Cooper's Absolutely Lucy series, or who like fantasy adventure books like Osborne's Magic Treehouse saga.
While we are not told why Henry has run away, he makes a good point for his inclusion on the ship by reminding Red Beard that he has thumbs. Wally's motivation is clearer-- he wants somewhere than he can feel at home. Once he earns his keep on the Salty Bone, he has lots of friends on the crew, and since every good dog needs a boy, it's a good thing that Henry has also decided to stow away.
There are many good comic characters: sisters Piggly and Puggly are always getting into scrapes, Captain Red Beard makes mistakes that readers will laugh at, and Steak-Eye is such a bad cook that his food for the dogs is improved by the addition of a can of cat food!
Throughout the story, Wally tries to prove his worth and ends up showing that his loyalty and skills and skills will make him a valuable member of the crew. Young readers who spend their days wearing tri-cornered hats and eye patches will find Stowaway to be a mARRRRRvelous read.